Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Quiet Day

I'm off to the hospital tomorrow for a day surgery.

Today is all about getting ready for the surgery.

I have to stick to a clear fluid diet today (Oh Joy!!!) and this afternoon I have to take something called Picoprep which will make myself and the bathroom best buddies from now until tomorrow morning. It just gets better and better doesn't it?

So this morning I headed up to the Op shop to drop off some donations.

While I was there I had a little poke around - as you do, and found this board game in brand new condition.

It's called Tipayatung. It's all about remembering the end line of famous sayings and quotes.

I think I'll put it aside to play on Christmas afternoon. It was a whole $3.

I also got some cheap magazines and a book to take to the hospital with me. I know from experience there can be a lot of waiting around.

The book I got for 50 cents is called Choosing Eden.

I have wanted to read this book for ages and was so happy to find it in an Op shop.

It's about a family that turn their backs on the big city lifestyle and go to live in the country to live a much simpler life including growing as much of their own produce as possible.

It is just the right size to pop in my handbag for tomorrow.

This afternoon while I'm taking it easy I'm going to be working on a craft project . I tore this craft page from a magazine ages ago.

Today I've gathered the supplies to have a go at it myself.'

I've made some yoyo's from some vintage scrap material I had lying around.

The cushion was a $5 bargain from a furniture store. I've pinned the yoyo's onto the pillow to get an idea of colour placement and now I just have to sew them all on.

Can't wait to pop it somewhere in the house.

I may be away for a few days while I recover from my surgery.

Will be back as soon as I am able to.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Simple Pleasures and Somewhere to Sit.

My husband Bill works very long hours. When you run your own business, you can never clock off. Subsequently, we spent very little quality time together through the week.

We do get the odd cup of coffee together in the morning and maybe an hour together in the evening. But with the kids, dinner, showers etc all competing for our time the quality of our interactions leave a lot to be desired.

About a year ago we decided to create an area that was just for us. A place with two chairs, a place to put our coffee and a light to read by. Of course, it all had to feel a bit retro.

We spend most mornings in this spot reading the papers, chatting and having our first coffee of the day. We put in a footstool to put our feet up on. This also doubles as a place for the kids and the dog to come and say hello.

A little table to put coffee cups, papers etc. I used to use the retro phone until it became impractical. Now it's just an ornament. The table also has the triffid style lights that you can manually angle to suit your reading purposes.

I had a little phase of old blighty love during which time I bought this cushion from Etsy.

And this very British poster from Lark.

While I am detesting this Summer weather, I am loving the fresh fruit that is everywhere at the moment. Such a simple pleasure that can really make your day. I got these massive mangoes yesterday for $1 each at the local greengrocer.

With these short life span fruits you really have to eat as much as you can while they are abundant I think.

And last night I received these beautiful roses directly from my father in law's garden.

Bill had been up to the Central Coast for business and popped in to see him and came home with these beauties from his lovely garden.

I don't know which I enjoyed more, the roses or the fact that they were picked especially for me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Menu Planning

Christmas day is at my place this year for the first time since we moved to the Blue Mountains four years ago. I am looking forward to planning the menu for the big day.

Yesterday I got my Christmas planner out that I made last year and had a bit of a flick through for ideas.

Last week I saw that the 4 ingredients girls had a new book out for Christmas.

I am all for having lovely but easily prepared food ready to go for Christmas Day.

This months SFI magazine has lots of lovely and very easy recipes. I am planning to make the salted caramel truffles from this magazine.

It's nice to have something to go with coffee when we play some board games in the afternoon.

I also love the Coles and Woolies free store magazines that come out around Christmas time.

They are great to flick through for menu inspiration.

So after all the research I have the following menu planned:

Breakfast: bacon and eggs

Starter: brushetta

Lunch: Turkey Breast with brie, bacon and spinach stuffing
Roast trio of vegies
Asparagus wrapped in proscuitto.

Dessert: Plum pudding and brandy custard

With coffee: caramel salted truffles
Fruity chocolate truffles.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Retro Lounging

Today was a quick trip down to Ikea to collect a new shagpile rug for my little retro loungeroom.

I really love this room because it's so cosy, especially at nightime and in Winter when we all snuggle on the lounge together.

The Christmas tree went up yesterday.

Next to that is an oil painting we bought in New York this year. Not at all retro but reminds us daily of the fantastic holiday we had there in June.

Some of my recent finds include this fabulous retro orange bowl which I found at a flea market while on holidays at my Mums' place.

I actually haggled, for the first time ever and got the lady on the stall to reduce the bowl from $30 to $15.

This tapestry was a vintage Etsy buy.

Now, I'm not saying I'm into bull fighting which of course I am totally not but these types of prints were prolific in the 60's and 70's and I adore the tapestry feel and the colours. It also stops the house from looking too feminine which it is always in danger of with me and Rhianna crafting away.

This very cute little footstool is from Ebay. Miss R uses this a lot to sit on and play with in the loungeroom.

Some of my retro glassware which at the moment is sharing space with the Christmas bits and pieces.

More retro vases which I've picked up in Op shops and the little canister with the lid is truly a retro piece from the 1970's. We keep the air conditioner remote in it as I hate remote controls lying around the loungeroom.

Little Finny loves the new rug. Maybe because he looks like he is made out of the same shagpile.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Diaries, Donations and a Day Out.

The diary

One of my friends that does a lot of travelling gave me the idea to keep a travel diary in our car.

In it you can write a mini review of the places that you have been.

I was keen to make one to keep in our new camper van.

Of course, I had to craft it up a bit first. I gathered my supplies. Notebook, contact and some colourful pages from one of my vintage caravan magazines.

Here is the finished product. I knew all those years of covering books for school would come in handy for my own projects one day.

One of the pages I have completed already.

On one side of the page, I wrote the date we went away and the camp site we had.

I include details about the amenities and what was good to keep Miss R entertained (crucial info as far as I am concerned as a bored child equals no relaxation for Mumma).

I put in the best and worst things about the place we stayed as well as any site we would prefer to have next time so if we ever go again we might get a better spot.

On the opposing page I put any paper work that relates to the park we stayed in.

In this case, I've included the park site map and the rules that apply in the park.

I hope it will be a handy reference in the camping years ahead.

The Donation

Miss Rhianna earned herself $300 through a challenge she did this year.

At the beginning of the year I promised her $100 if she did not eat nor ask to eat McDonalds fast food. When her Dad heard of this challenge he said he would throw in a further $200.

Well, I am happy to say she made it easily through the year with not one cheeseburger crossing her lips.

She was super excited about having $300 in her hot little hand and we talked about a trillion things that she could buy with the money. I tried to talk about savings accounts and the like but got shouted down with cries of "No, I want to spend it Mum".

Then, the other night I was tucked up in bed reading the latest Woman's Weekly when a brochure fell out regarding World Vision donations. Rhianna picked it up and asked what it was all about. I explained that you could buy a gift for a family in another country such as a goat or a piglet.

Rhianna read the whole brochure through before announcing she was buying a cow.

A cow for $265.

I thought for sure it would be a two minute wonder and the next morning she would change her mind. But no, she was committed and today a cheque for $265 was posted to World Vision for a cow to be bought and given to a struggling family in a third world country.

I hope we can afford to do this every year and make it a new family tradition.

I can't tell you how proud I am of my daughter as she is not usually one for selfless acts.

Maybe the tide is turning.....

A Day Out

I've had a day out planned with one of my besties, Linda for a while now so when I was up half the night with Rhianna and gastro I thought the day would have to be cancelled.

But lovely girlie days out are few and far between so I bit the bullet, bundled up the girl and headed to Castle Hill, Sydney.

It's about a 40 minute drive from our place and my girlfriend Linda and I used to be neighbours there many years ago. Now I live in the mountains and she has moved to Mona Vale which is by the sea but we catch up at the midway point of our two houses as often as possible.

Of course it had to be pouring with rain and we ran into a traffic jam caused by a road accident but we soldiered on.
Rhianna keep my company by singing me lots and lots of Christmas carols. Did I mention that I made sure I took my anti-anxiety medication BEFORE I left the house.

First stop a coffee and a muffin to fuel ourselves for the fun bit - gift buying for the people we love.

Three hours of shopping later we met said bestie for lunch.

I didn't get time to take a breath let alone a photo of us shopping.

If you haven't started your shopping yet, it might be time to get started - it's getting really crazy out there now.

After a delightful lunch at our favourite cafe Rhianna and I headed back home.

Love, love, love the girlie day out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Retro Dining

As well as loving all things retro, I am also very much about the making, the making do and the thrifting.

Today, I thought I'd show you our little dining room.

Here she is in all her glory.

Such a mishmash of colour, style and kitsch. Just the way I love it.

I think you've seen the dining room table and chairs circa 1970 before. They were a second hand furniture store find and in perfect condition.

I had quite a little collection of tins that I've been picking up mostly in op shops and when I saw this old pot holder stand in a local antique store I knew it would be the perfect thing to store my tins on. And the tins are useful too. Rhianna and I can cram quite a lot of craft bits and pieces into those tins.

Some tin love.

This plaque was found in an op shop up near my Mum's house. I've never seen or heard of this saying before but it works for me and it has that genius retro orange trim that I do so love.

This is an Etsy buy but it was in plain old wood grain colour when it arrived. I do love to spray paint and yellow just suited this piece so well. I love it, love it, love it.

This pillow was handmade by myself and honestly, I got the idea and design out of a kid's craft book. I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

Very vintage crochet cushion purchased for around $10 from Frou Frou in Springwood.

This stool is actually a WIP. It was just a plain wooden stool from our last (boring) house that I spray painted and I have a lovely lady crocheting a nice little cover for the top of it.

Finally, Finn wanted me to tell you all that he is loving this return to winter weather. The fire is on, the comfy pouffe has been dragged right next to it and we are having lots of cosy hugs on the lounge today. Furthermore, he's just been told that some baking will be happening shortly.

He does so love my sultana pound cake.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Works In Progress or WIPS

I've finally got my creative mojo back which is kind of a good thing and kind of a bad thing.

The great stuff, is being creative - just so much fun, fun, fun. And fellow creatives out there will know exactly what I am talking about.

The bad bit is the lack of time to do all the fun stuff and still have time for all the dreary stuff like cleaning, cooking and interacting with other members of the human race.

No, there must be a balance.
At the moment I am painting the kitchen and trying to crumb fish for tonight's dinner. Not only is that not the kind of balance you need, It might also be slightly dangerous - like in a food poisoning kind of way.

Meanwhile my lovely retro fabric quilt cover keeps calling my name and begging me to work on her. But not today Josephine....

My glory box, that my Pop made for me when I was 15 wants a make over.

It's currently living in Miss Rhianna's room and is desperate for some colour.

I have such a lovely idea to spruce up this box but I just don't have time to make a start today.....

...because the kitchen reno has been started and must be completed.

Oh what a long drawn out mission this is turning out to be.

I am loving the results but all the painting that must take place. Truly, it's doing my head in.

But I can't stop now with half done and half undone. No, no, no, I. Must. Keep. Going.

I take the cupboard doors off and carry them out to our entertaining area where they get the painting once over, or in their case the twice over.

Have a look at the state of the entertaining area.

I think we have a Xmas party coming up soon and I still have to go into hospital for surgery before that.

How will I ever get this kitchen finished, recover from some medical slicing and dicing and organise a party in the next month????? onto a completed project.

The little Xmas craft project I mentioned last week.

I stole the idea from this kids craft book.

Truly, that's the level I am at skill wise.

They had some snazzy fabric book covers as a project for 8 year olds. Looked easy enough.

I covered some 2012 diaries for Miss R and I. Using all old scraps I already had lying around in the sewing box. Dead easy.

Just tucked and sewed the ends in.

And then the cover can be taken off and used on a 2013 diary.

So easy and only cost me $10 for the two diaries.

On the retail front I am trying to source a new rug for my loungeroom.

I'm thinking a nice creamy shagpile number. What do you think?